We can find traces of our Catholic heritage in Tallahassee dating as far back as 450 years ago. The history of the People of God in the Apalachee region dates to as early as 1539 when twelve priests accompanied Hernando DeSoto, the Spanish explorer, to the area. According to most scholars, the first Christmas Mass in what would become the United States was celebrated that year in present-day Tallahassee, Florida
Because of the tensions between the colonial powers of Great Britain and Spain, the early success of the pioneers in establishing a missionary Church was followed by a period of war, disease, and famine. After the English succeeded in driving the Spanish from Florida, the territory was ceded to Great Britain. One year later, only eight Catholic could be found in all of Florida.
It was not until the 1820’s when many French settlers came to the area attracted by the Lafayette Land Grant that Catholics returned to Tallahassee. The faithful persevered, and in 1845 the first church was built in Tallahassee on the northeast corner of Park Avenue and Gadsden Street. To meet the educational demands of the area’s Catholics, the Sisters of the Holy Name of Jesus and Mary opened a convent in 1854 and operated a school for nearly 20 years, before public schools were introduced to the city.
By 1865 there were 63 adults and 42 children registered in what was then the Church of St. Mary. Missions soon began in Lake City, Madison, Monticello, St. Marks, Newport, Quincy, and Chattahoochee. After the sale of property, Blessed Sacrament Church was built and dedicated in 1898 at North Monroe and Carolina streets. By 1922, there were about 60 Catholic families in the area.
The Catholic Church in Tallahassee began to see accelerated expansion toward the middle of the century, and in 1952, Blessed Sacrament Parish erected a 500-seat church at its current site on Miccosukee Road and Blessed Sacrament Catholic Elementary School was established. In 1982, we constructed our present church building and the old church became our Parish Hall.
Blessed Sacrament is the mother parish for the other Tallahassee parishes. Until the 1960’s, we were the only Catholic Church in Florida’s capital city, and we have helped to start the other three parishes.